20 Jan 2003

Health authorities on high alert for disease outbreak

5:32 pm on 20 January 2003

The Fiji Red Cross says health authorities are on high alert for a possible outbreak of diseases, such as diarrhoea and cholera, because villagers in cyclone stricken areas drink contaminated water.

The coordinator for the Red Cross' Disaster Relief Team, Vuli Gauna, says there is concern over contaminated water supplies, a lack of food, inadequate shelter and sanitation.

Over the weekend, one person was evacuated with diarrhoea from an island north of Vanua Levu, prompting fears more people may be affected.

Mr Gauna says the Red Cross has donated 100-thousand water purification tablets to villagers to tie them over until the government restores their water supply.

"the water is the main concern at the moment and it seems that there is going to be an outbreak of epidemic if nothing much is done about the water. It is up to the government to restore water within the two weeks"

Vuli Gauna from Fiji Red Cross.